We gathered a group with diverse skin and hair types and sent each of them home with two razors, asking them to shave and evaluate the following factors:
Comfort of shave: How did the razor feel on skin? How much did it pull at hair? Most models were a little uncomfortable, so we gave bonus points to razors (like the Philips Norelco 9300) whose users said they’d happily repeat their experience.
Convenience of shave: Our testers also rated how easy the razors were to maneuver, and if they delivered on the promise of a quick, effortless shave. Many didn’t: “A ton of long hairs were left and I had to cover the same ground many times,” reported our Philips Norelco 7500 rotary tester. If the razor had wet/dry capabilities, we tested both modes — sometime to mixed results. Testers reported that models like the Panasonic Arc3 and the Panasonic Arc5, which performed decently dry, were harder to maneuver against wet hair.
Design and ergonomics: We asked testers to assess how the razors felt in their hands and then conducted a second round of tests in-office. We wanted to find models that boasted comfortable button placement, easily accessible trimmers, and a pleasantly contoured handle.
Overall, Braun lived up to its reputation, receiving more favorable feedback than foil models from Panasonic and Wahl. Philips Norelco’s rotary razors beat out Remington’s by a mile, but our testers generally found rotary razors less comfortable and intuitive than foil razor designs.